Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

This text and image were posted by me on the 4 of October 2014 on Flickr. It had 25.487 views since then. I republish it now 5 years later on my blog to mark the violent events as they evolve and infold now in Hong Kong and compare them to the demonstrations for local democracy and safeguard of the ‘rule of law’. I have not altered anything in that text of 2014, just kept my direct reactions to the movement of that time. It was only a few years after I had been working for therein part of the year in Hong Kong, teaching and doing research as a senior fellow of the City University of Hong Kong. The city itself was one of my main subjects at that time… by applying research principles I had developed for studying the change of through time of the mood of a city, ‘literary psycho-geography’ , to the city-state of Hong Kong. I also was teaching this subject to the mostly very young students at the new media department of that university and so had gained some knowledge of their state of mind. The continuous housing crisis in this city has as one result that most students still lived with their parents. I found themeless independent than young European students… so the greater has been my surprise at the great participation of young people, many students, in this movement and the social and political abilities they developed in such a short time.



…that was and will remain the basic recipe of the People’s Republic of China, since the rise of Deng XiaoPing in the mid seventies did put China on a two rail track: combining market economy with state socialism. It was Deng who ceremonially struck the deal with Margaret Thatcher in 1984 to be given back in 1997 what had grown over a century into a colonial crown jewel: Hong Kong. (1) Another ‘double dealing’ was agreed upon then: ‘one country two systems’, promising Hong Kong population something – in the future – their British overlords had not been able to provide them with in all the years they could have done so: ‘universal suffrage’.

It comes as no surprise that a state – formally – unified under a one party system failed to supply the citizens of Hong Kong was an undiluted suffrage system for Hong Kong. Hence the 2017 proposed election system for a city-adminstration-leader, from appointed candidates by the PRC only.

What the Brits left behind in 1997, though, was a juridical system that – compared to that of the PRC – was reasonably independent, one could say that the successful ‘freedom of trade’ of Hong Kong was very much dependent on such a ‘rule of law’ system, as capitalist big business needs the assurance of a set of rules independent from a single party power government to prosper.

‘Rule of law’ did not only benefit big business, but also functioned as social leveller for the less affluent citizens of Hong Kong, because a successful economy is only hampered by too blatant social unequally in its direct realm.

After a week or so of large demonstrations by Hong Kong citizens against the paternalistic system of voting for a new chief-city-administrator in 2017, the voice of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Peoples Republic of China has uttered a commentary, which should be read as ‘a decree’: “Firmly safeguard the rule of law in Hong Kong.” The article launches a warning to he peaceful HK demonstrators:

“These acts will undoubtedly end up with the rule of law violated, severely disrupted social orders, huge economic losses and possible casualties.”

Reference: english.peopledaily.com.cn/n/2014/1004/c90785-8790857.html

‘Possible casualties’ is a way of saying that a hard hand will come down on demonstrators who dare to go any further. The article is cleverly formulated by schooled party ideologues and so it turns the main argument of HK democracy demonstrators against them, as it is not the Chinese state that violates rule of law promise of universal suffrage made to Hong Kong, it is the Hong Kong demonstrators who are violating it.

The defamation campaign in local newspapers (readers comments often anonymous) (2) and the pro China counter-demonstrations and delivered bruisings to young students (3), was the overture for the Chinese Opera that will be put on stage in the coming days. The demonstrators are declared a minority and thus the ground is prepared to get them out of the way:

“A democratic society should respect the opinions of the minorities, but it doesn’t mean those minorities have the right to resort to illegal means.”

There are 7 million Hong Kong inhabitants, and even when there were one million protesters out in the streets, the far way rulers in Beijing can declare them ‘a minority’.

It seems an easy game for the Chinese rulers, as the state is always ‘legal’ and using force against ‘illegal actions’ is what a state is supposed to do. This is formulated in the opening of the Peoples Daily article:

“Democracy and the rule of law are interdependent, and a democracy without the rule of law will only bring havoc.”

There is of course a deep oddity in the demands of the movement for democracy in Hong Kong, as its main aim was the right to choose their own leader. One can distinguish between a social movement and its own inner dynamics from the formal demands it makes. The show of ability for self-organisation of the people that have massed the streets of Hong Kong these last days, is an achievement in itself and does even overshadow the somewhat meek demand to be able to vote for someone who will then have a mandate to rule you.

This is a simplified argument, but necessary to get some understanding of what is won and may be lost in the Occupy Central movement. A real choice of a new ‘leader/administrator’ for Hong Kong, necessitates a platform or party with a set of principles and practical proposals and the figure head to be voted for is supposed to attempt to put these into practice.

Anybody living in a parliamentary democracy knows the limits and shortcomings of this social construction. Less so – it seems – the demonstrators in Hong Kong. In a way their self-organisation was a denial of their own demand to be able to choose a leader of their own choice. They could well think about leading society themselves, be it not in formal governance representation, but in their ability to manifest themselves in many ways as active citizens, that have learned how to halt or limit the exercise of what they feel as ‘unjust authority’. Voting once in so and so many years is after all not good enough to realise democracy.

Even when in a media sense in the head-lines the Occupy Central movements will loose, they have won something in the bylines yet to be written in times to come: the practice of peaceful self-organisation.


(1) The top part of the tableau-picture is: “Reconstruction of the important meeting between Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher in Beijing on 24 September 1984 with talks about the future of Hong Kong – at the visitors platform of the Diwang Dasha in Shenzhen Date 2.07.2007”

The bottom part is a picture that appeared in the South China Morning Post published in Hong Kong and afterward in many more newspapers, it is students many wearing black t-shirts making the symbolic sign of crossing arms, showing both that they do not carry any weapons and disapproval of government action. That sign was used in previous demonstrations against the introduction of ‘patriotic history’ lessons PRC style in Hong Kong schools. The yellow ribbon refers with its colour yellow to earlier grand Hong Kong pro democracy demonstrations against government measures that were deemed by demonstrators to be authoritarian, like massive demonstration did use yellow umbrellas , like a famous one ion October 10 2007.

The yellow ribbons also as an avatar for those who are supporting the movement but could not be at a demonstration, tied to fences and worn as a bracelet. More details on symbolism used at this web-page…

(2) 1/10/2014 my readers comment in the South Cina Morning Post after reading several defamation readers comments:

“PROTEST & DEFAMATION social movements when they grow tend to produce defamation campaigns. Reader’s reaction, often posted under pseudonym, are used for it, like in the SCMP of 1/10/14 by “David777” citing “revolution observer Tony Cartalucci” about the long ties with the USA governent of Occupy Central leaders: “Recent events in Hong Kong follow a pattern of US-engineered regime change operations, where naive students and other youth are encouraged to be the public face of protests, which start out preaching non-violence only to be very soon shunted aside by far more radical elements who provide the real muscle behind the regime change.” Egypt, Syria and the Ukraine are mentioned adding suggestively: “the Maidan protests soon gave way to violent, armed groups sporting neo-nazi tattoos and radical ideologies.” David777 ends: “SCMP = USA.” Such rethorics make one remember the Cold War with both camps excelling in constructing, inventing and disclosing conspiracies, thus denying existence of any genuine form of protest. From USA McCarthism to KGB unveiling of Yankee subversion. RUFMORD (character assasination)in German. Also the PRC has a long tradition in this field. Many have suffered or paid with their life. One needs not to be versed in details of the mass-defamation campaigns during the heigh days of the Cultural Revolution in China to know, how violent and murderous such campaigns can get. It went to the level that children would accuse their own teachers and parents.”

The South China Morning Post reader “David777” quotes an article dated 30//9/2014 from a Canadian web-site of the organisation called Global Research, with an opening paragraph reading:

“Behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests, which masquerade as a “pro-democracy” movement seeking “universal suffrage” and “full democracy,” is a deep and insidious network of foreign financial, political, and media support. Prominent among them is the US State Department and its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as well as NED’s subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI).”

This Canadian based organisation is well known for its curious pro-party-communist-state and pro-post-party-communist-party-state analysis (how to summarise that in a non-biased way in one sentence), also being a welcome guests to certain outlets of such states, like the Russian television station ‘Russia Today’ that is a voice and commentary strictly within the Putin party line. It is not the first time I have come across the special views promulgated by this organisation, founded by Michel Chossudovsky… I will try to refine the background on this later, for the moment here is a Wikipedia on the founder of the organisation Michel Chossudovsky:

(3) 3/10/2014 The Guardian: “Violent clashes break out in Hong Kong after counter-protesters storm sit-in
About 1,000 people opposed to pro-democracy movement fight 100 demonstrators after Leung Chun-ying’s talks offer”

The Huffington Post has a series of photographs showing the confrontation in Mong Kok:

My commentary on that day send to HK friends:

“NO SURPRISE the warming up was going on for days with a defamation campaign in the press (through readers responses to the news)… and a megalopolis as Hong Kong is also home to a myriad of thugs and maffiosi…, the knuckle sandwich has been on the Hong Kong menu for over a century… this combines with the cells of the Chinese Communist Party an organisation deeply entrenched in the former Crown Colony… once outlawed by the Brits, ever since even more effective as a semi-underground, not formal and open organisation. When a movement like Occupy Central loses a bit of momentum, it is the right moment for these groups to move in… Also Mong Kok part of the mainland area of HK, Kowloon, is a very different district from the area with mainly offices on Hong Kong Island, especially Admirality… an encampment in these streets does not seem a good idea… I did live not far from Mong Kok and I did not understand this choice for any fixed position action… Well the activists will learn their lesson the hard way… The move of opening talks… was to be expected… and as the demands have been limited to one issue… even when that issue is not dealt with properly in the talks that are supposed to be upcoming (and who decides who will be there speaking with the authorities for whom… the whole issue of a popular mandate is always tricky)… the non-involvement of police in such a situation is the most classic of all situation… with the schizophrenia of activists who justly claim freedom of demonstration and refute police intervention…until the moments that a third force attacks them… the answer – organising your own order-troops – is also problematic, as soon order troops tend to take over power within any activist loose grouping… these are the normal dynamics of large social movements… with a Hong Kong social relation flavour.”

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is there ROOM for escape?
Leaving the European Union…
Leaving the People’s Republic of China…
Apart from the question: WHO IS FLEEING FROM WHERE?
there is the question: WHERE CAN ONE FLEE?
– In the news-picture flow of these days we may see British Union Jack flags waving both in the UK and Hong Kong, while REMAIN partisans wave EU and PRC flags with more than one star, one having a blue, the other a red background.

“The red background symbolizes the revolution and the golden star colors ‘radiate’ on the red background representing one of the Five Elements of fire and earth. The big star represents the unity of Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (…) the four smaller stars that surround the big star symbolize the four social classes (the working class, the peasantry, the urban petite bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie) of China’s New Democracy mentioned in Mao’s ‘On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship’. [wiki]
The EU (European Union and European Council) flag has “the blue sky of the Western world” with 12 stars that “symbolize the peoples of Europe in a form of a circle, a sign of union. Their number is invariably twelve, the figure twelve being the symbol of perfection and entirety.” [wiki]
I have taken out one of the twelve EU stars in this picture… to symbolize the ‘disunity’ when the UK leaves the EU. Will it be a loss of ‘perfection’ and will what is left of the EU be eternally ‘incomplete’?

The official Union Jack Flag of the United Kingdom may shed some of its constituting parts soon. “The present design of the Union Flag dates from a Royal proclamation following the union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. The flag combines aspects of three older national flags: the red cross of St George for the Kingdom of England, the white saltire of St Andrew for Scotland (which two were united in the first Union Flag), and the red saltire of St Patrick to represent Ireland. Notably, the home country of Wales is not represented separately in the Union Flag, as the flag was designed after the invasion of Wales in 1282. Hence Wales as a home country today has no representation on the flag.”


A demonstrator waves a Union Jack flag in front of police during protests that have once again raised issues of identity as well as hostility towards Beijing among young people in Hong Kong. VINCENT YU/AP [The Times June 14 2019]

SO WHO IS FLEEING FROM THE ‘PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC DICTATORSHIP’ IN HONG KONG? Which star should be taken out? Is it the ‘urban petite bourgeoisie’? Is it the ‘national bourgeoisie’? Or both?
Will the Brits float their island away to the West across the Atlantic? Or will the USA conquer one of the former colonial motherlands, as many are suggesting depicting Boris Johnson as the trickster that plays the Trump-card.
Is there any option for drifting away for the tiny islands and some bits of connected mainland territory? It is hardly imaginable that Hong Kong can catapult itself to the Western hemisphere… it can drift a fair bit south-west toward Singapore or a rather long way east toward Taiwan, or even further to Japan.
All of this seems far beyond the doable… especially for the HKEXIT plan. Can any nation in the world ESCAPE the globalizing market forces? There seems to be NO ROOM for it anymore. Still in this perspective one may argue that the main HKEXIT actors maybe not the inhabitants of that former British Crown Colony, but those in Beijing who are responsible for keeping the ‘peoples dictatorship’ up and running. Is it not so that by limiting what is called ‘ the free market economy’ (wrong term in fact but let’s use it here to avoid too long an exposé about the un-freedom of it) and limiting the formal separation of the law-system from the state apparatus (‘rule of law’) in Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China is the one that forces the Hong Kong – as it is still now – OUT: EXIT HK?


Once more IS THERE ROOM FOR ESCAPE in this world?
I think there is not. One has to face up to the political and military power realities of where one lives now, seek for no relief from the past, but instead face up to the future. There is No glorious past to go back to, not for the Brits and their infamous colonial empire, not for the people of Hong Kong. Their status of voiceless subjects without a parliament in a British Crown Colony – that developed into a modern day piracy nest for the big finance – has remained unchanged, better said worsened. Hong Kong’s actual status of “Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” protocoled as “one country two systems” has seen the quality of civil rights eroding and promises for more democracy, made before the hand-over to China by the UK, thwarted. This has lead some to long for a a past that was supposedly better, but at best – only at the end of British reign – one may speak of some gestures of ‘belated enlightened top down’ delivered measures of empowering Chinese Hong Kong citizens. Before British rule of law was strongly geared toward the expatriate business community.

In the Hong Kong turmoil of the last months local social economic issues have hardly been mentioned and there are many to tackle. The exploitative housing market being one of them, as well as the impunity of aggressive capitalist ventures that are based in Hong Kong, “free” to develop their predatory practices in the Asia Pacific and beyond and are  – how paradoxical – allowed to exploit the mainland workers population of China as well.

There is an aspect of ‘unholy alliance’ in the fight of Hong Kong people against the Moloch of the People’s Republic of China. All social classes in Hong Kong seem to unite, from students to bankers. ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ goes the saying. Not something that can be escaped. Still, something that must be kept in mind actively. This point is proven by the support of the USA voiced by Donald Trump for the demands of the Hong Kong people’s movement. A mean and menacing gesture in the globalist power game called the ‘US-China Trade War’.
The BREXITers practice their own ‘unholy alliance’ by joining the ‘free-marketeers’ based in the UK whose interest is to free themselves from EU tutelage and enter into Atlantic and global joint ventures, not giving a damn about the social economic effects that will have for the less fortunate part of the British population, ready to even massacre what is left of the famous British National Health Service.
National states and associations thereof are means and no ends in themselves. Local communities form the basis of any state. Local level interests can only be furthered by local level changes and the national and supra national state bodies need to be forced to get geared to that.
The one who flees the local-level social state of affairs becomes a refugee. Refugees going elsewhere will in the end land in yet another local situation.
It is there… that change must be wrought. The actual sentiments of Britishness and Hongkongness are more products of a shared opinion of what is ‘not wanted’ than an expression of  of a ‘national unity’ in the 19th and 20th century sense. It is the unwanted partnership with a supra-national conglomeration that makes people aware of their local  identity, but once that partnership is broken and a single unit chooses to stand on its own, that sense of ‘togetherness’ will fall apart. Internal contradictions will take over.

The Balkanisation of Former Yugoslavia may serve as an example, whereby a federal state with multiple nations has been forced apart and some of the new nations have sought refuge in a far bigger federation of nation states (the European Union), while others stayed ‘alone’, thus losing their former close social, economic and cultural ties and markets, restraining their national identity to a single one, where it was plural before. In most cases creation and disintegration of unions of nations and states are marked by violent acts. There are exceptions like the split up of Czechoslovakia into two separate sovereign states Czechia and Slovakia in 1993 (both new states remained in the European Union), or the dissolution of the 1814 Union between Norway and Sweden in 1905 (it went into history books as a peaceful settlement, only when one neglects the suffering of  the border populations). Most other cases throughout history have been bloody affairs, some of the most deadly being the result of failed imperial rule in the British empire (the partition of India and Pakistan with a death toll that has never been formally established ranging between 200.000 and 2 million and 14 million displaced persons).

Thus, the  positive option is REMAIN, and adapt the rules of the supra-federation to local needs (in my view the PRC is a supra-federation which is too much centralised now).

The negative option is to leave and the hardship of confronting social-economic barriers produced by these supra-federations, which will start of with a few decades of revenge for those who have left. Of course in the global power reality Hong Kong does not stand a chance to leave the PRC. Hong Kong  will not be “sold back” to Britain or what ever it is that will be left after BREXIT of the UK. Also, Hong Kong will not become a ‘City Free State’ like Singapore. Hong Kong is bound to be a ‘special region’ of that – seemingly – big state-unit and ‘unity’ called China. How ‘special’ and for ‘how long’ depends on its will and capacity to keep kicking.


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TRUMP BECOMES FIRST SITTING PRESIDENT TO SET FOOT INTO NORTH KOREA… how does he do that while sitting? // Americans sitting presidents left their “footprints” almost seven decades earlier in North Korea though. Aerial bombing footprints by sitting presidents Truman and Eisenhower who approved the heavy handed carpet bombing of North Korean cities by general Curtis Le May, with Pyongyang, the capital, being only one of many… Let me remind those who are not in the know:
According to a bomb assessment conducted by the U.S. Air Force, over the course of the war 75 percent of Pyongyang was destroyed by the U.S. bombing, placing it approximately at the midpoint in level of damage, relative to other Korean cities
Musan – 5%
Najin (Rashin) – 5%
Unggi (Sonbong County) – 5%
Anju – 15%
Sinuiju – 50%
Songjin (Kimchaek) – 50%
Chongju (Chŏngju) – 60%
Kanggye – 60% (reduced from previous estimate of 75%)
Haeju – 75%
Pyongyang – 75%
Kyomipo (Songnim) – 80%
Hamhung (Hamhŭng) – 80%
Chinnampo (Namp’o) – 80%
Wonsan (Wŏnsan) – 80%
Hungnam (Hŭngnam) – 85%
Sunan (Sunan-guyok) – 90%
Sariwon (Sariwŏn) – 95%
Hwangju (Hwangju County) – 97%
Kunu-ri (Kunu-dong) – 100%
Sinanju – 100%

Would it be an idea that any sitting president, any authority approving aerial bombing would set foot onto the ground impacted by the ordnance dropped by their order, before ordening any other air raid?

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– this is my second attempt to summarise HongKongNess in one icon like picture –

香港人 = HONGKONGNESS (also spelled Hon Kong-ness) the idea of a special, separate identity many citizens of the “Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” do conceive as their ‘imagined community’ (the last term comes from the well-known study on the meaning of nationalism by Benedict Anderson, 1983) [1]. A side effect of the tactical doctrine proposed by the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the early eighties for the ‘take back’ (after 156 years) of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong, from the British Empire by the People’s Republic of China: “ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS”… HONGKONGNES expresses first of all what is NOT wanted (the legal Chinese state system where the separation of powers between the juridical and the reigning party system does ‘de facto’ not exist)…

HONGKONGNESS is also the idea of ‘freedom (of expression)’ and at the same time the ‘freedom of entrepreneurship and trade’ (hence including exploitation of humans and property).

There is hardly any surviving ancient Hong Kong native culture that can be used as a cultural carrier for this city-state new form of nationalism. Hong Kong was just a sparsely populated rock and some islands with a few fisherman settlements at the moment of occupation by the British. Hong Kong has seen a fluctuating past since it became a British colony with periods of rise and decline of its population and economic importance. In the mid sixties – at the moment of a great influx of refugees from Mainland China because of extravagant and often chaotic political and economic reforms during the reign of Mao Zedong, the city’s population started to grow fast. It was also the time of the Cold War and economic boycott of Mainland China, that created the often infamous industry city-state associated with products branded ‘Made in Hong Kong’.

The policy change in Mainland China, with the implementation of Free Economic Zones (read free to exploit the local labour in these areas) like the adjacent region around Shenzhen, brought about by Deng Xiaoping, cum suis, repositioned the role of Hong Kong, whereby the element of factory production diminished and the already growing sector of international banking and associated trade activities greatly expanded.

This last development may explain the paradoxical status of the idea of HONGKONGNESS whereby those who want more civil rights, local democracy and some even class equality, find themselves in the same basket as members of the big business community when it comes to protest against changing the actual ‘rule of law’ system, which is seen as yet another step in the ‘salami-tactics’ of Mainland China powers to gain greater control over the city-state, its inhabitants and its business. There is even a double bottom to this ‘unholy alliance’ because the international banking and trading sector of Hong Kong is eager to keep as long as possible the ‘status aparte’ of the ‘special administrative region’ to facilitate it’s growing investments and influence in Mainland China and the funneling role of Hong Kong to reap the profits of it.

Big profits can be made by being close to China, work in China, but not being ruled by China (too much).
This process is not a one-way undertaking, because financial conglomerates from Mainland China are using Hong Kong for a similar type of exploitation. In other words these are economic dragons with more than one head.

Do these observations make the mass movement of Hong Kong people we have witnessed in the past weeks suspect? I do not think so. There is a genuine need to keep a way of life that allows for more personal freedom than available in the People’s Republic of China proper. Still that what can be called ‘the City State of Hong Kong’ is far from an ideal social system… when it comes to social differences Hong Kong is among the top ranking nations for its ‘social inequality’. [2]

As always ‘social movements’ are phenomena that are ‘on the move’, within days one can see how discontent expressed in demonstrations reach a momentum whereby the quantity (the amount of people participating) invokes new quality. Single demands become lists of demands, a political program may evolve… claiming things far beyond the impetus. We need to keep in mind as well that ‘unity’ is always momentary and that ‘a social movement’ is mostly something that carries differing opinions on means and ends. Potential leaders are “born” during the struggle, will rise and will have a hard time not to get caught in the ideological stratification processes whereby single opinions on tactics and strategies are imposed onto a pluriform crowd. Fractions may form, internal struggles may develop, up to fratricide.

What stems hopeful in regard to the mass street rallies of Hong Kong, is that these displays of popular dissent and power are ephemeral, warning signs to those who rule the city state. The demonstrators show the authorities that they have to reckon with a population that is formally hardly represented in the straightjacket representational system that has been tailored by the party communist system of the People’s Republic of China. These highly visible mass street rallies are set against the wheeling and dealing of an opaque local governmental system. The mobilization structure for the mass rallies is manifold. Methods of action are most often peaceful. Non-violent tactics are acquired with each new rally. A learning process of many years in the case of Hong Kong. Most important there is NOT a formal structure of leadership, there are NO formal representatives that may be lured into compromise and estranged from ‘their followers’.

The existing government and its functionaries are forced to – somehow – absorb the popular demands in their policy, if only, to fence off the calling in question of their rule. [3]

It may be a failure of Machiavellian insight by the leadership of People’s Republic of China to have limited the population of Hong Kong so much in their demands for independent democratic representation in the last decades. Without such mediating political devices only the ‘social media’ of the internet and demonstrations in the streets have remained as means for expression of popular opinion.


The text above was written between Sunday June 16 and Tuesday June 17. In The Guardian of today (June 18) there is an interview with one of the young activists who was active in the earlier demonstrations in the year 2014 known ast he ‘Umbrella movement’ Joshua Wong Chi-fung (1996-). The 2014 movement was about the limitations set to the  elections for a new Hong Kong ‘chief execute’ which was a closed shop election affair whereby only those screened and accepted by the government of the People’s Republic of China, could participate. The person chosen in that (non democratic) election was Carrie Lam. Joshua Wong had just served a prison sentence of two months for contempt of court during court proceedings against him because of his activism. He was released last Monday. In the interview the point I have raised in my analysis about a broad social movement without apparent leaders, came up as well:

Asked whether he would like to be leader of the next set of protests, Wong sidestepped. “As an ‘organic’ movement, the anti-extradition protest is very decentralised. The key is not who is leading it.”

Many learned about the protests through groups on WhatsApp and Telegram and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

“When a movement has no leaders, it constitutes even greater pressure on the authorities to give concessions because they have no one to negotiate with and they can’t just go and arrest one of the leaders,” he said.

The sweeping opposition to the extradition bill had come from not only the pro-democracy camp and young people, but also the business sector. The huge turnout in the protests – an estimated one million on 9 June and nearly two million on 16 June, were beyond anyone’s imagination, Wong said.

[1] Benedict Anderson, 1983:

“… a nation “is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion”. () Members of the community probably will never know each of the other members face to face; however, they may have similar interests or identify as part of the same nation. Members hold in their minds a mental image of their affinity: for example, the nationhood felt with other members of your nation when your “imagined community” participates in a larger event such as the Olympic Games.”

In the case of Hong Kong being a city-state with a land surface of just over 1 km2 and a population of approximate 7,4 inhabitants, the huge demonstrations of last week (with 1 million on June the 9th. and almost 2 million demonstrators on Sunday June 16th. (these are maximalist numbers by the organizers, of course the Hong Kong police comes up with much lower numbers). Still it si realistic to say that the last demonstration of Sunday was a turn out of a quarter of the population onto the streets. That is rare and in a way the theory of Benedict Anderson (members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members) has been overturned in the case of Hong Kong as all those out in the streets were not only seeing huge numbers of their fellow citizens face tot face, but also through the ubiquitous personal communication tool of smartphones. So also their families and acquaintances staying at home for all kind of reasons could follow their personal relations on the street, both of these groups could instantly zoom in on the personal level and zoom-out to the manifold news and social media outlets that showed the enormous crowd from a higher position, up to aerial photography and drones.
The ‘nation as a crowd’ does get a new meaning here.


Along the route taken by the march. (A) Causeway Road, outside Victoria Park, (B) Hennessy Road, in Causeway Bay, (C) Hennessy Road, in Wan Chai. Sources: Bloomberg reporting, Google Earth, Transport Department. Source Bloomberg: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2019-hong-kong-protests-extradition-to-china/


Hundreds of mothers holding placards, some of which read “If we lose the young generation, what’s left of Hong Kong”, and lit smartphones protest against the amendments to the extradition law in Hong Kong on Friday. Photo: AAP. Source: https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world/2019/06/15/hong-kong-protests-extradition-2/


[2] South China Morning Post, 27/9/2018, Michelle Wong:

Aid agency Oxfam has issued a 60-page report recommending the Hong Kong government set aside an extra HK$36.7 billion (US$4.7 billion) next year to prevent more people falling into poverty. The charity said the funds were needed to address the city’s widening wealth gap – the largest in 45 years. So how did Hong Kong come to be such an unequal society, and what else could be done to level the playing field?
How bad is the wealth gap in Hong Kong?
The difference between a society’s rich and poor is often measured using the Gini coefficient – statistician Corrado Gini’s index of how evenly income is distributed on a scale from zero to one. In June last year the figure for Hong Kong was 0.539, with zero indicating equality. The result was the highest in 45 years. The United States was at 0.411 and Singapore 0.4579. Hong Kong’s number has climbed 0.006 points since 2006, according to the city’s Census and Statistics Department.
One in three elderly Hongkongers lives below the poverty line.
In 2016 the median monthly household income of the top 10 per cent of Hongkongers was 43.9 times the bottom 10 per cent. The poorest would have to work three years and eight months on average to earn what the richest make in a month.

Read on at

[3] The Guardian 18/6/2019: “Hong Kong protesters unimpressed by Lam’s ‘sincere’ apology // Chief suggests extradition law effectively shelved but protesters say key demands ignored”

Hong Kong chief leader Carrie Lam is cited:

“I will not proceed again with this legislative exercise if these fears and anxieties could not be adequately addressed,” Lam said. “If the bill does not make legislative council by July next year, it will expire and the government will accept that reality.”

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‎”Kennis Nederlandse trainers over Kunduz lijkt beperkt” (knowledge of the Dutch trainers about Kunduz seems limited) is the headline of De Volkskrant daily this morning and I imagine how an ignorant Royal Dutch Marechaussee (military police) officer instructs the local Afghan police force: “Look that is how we do it in Holland!”

At the same time I imagine the improbable reversed situation of an Afghan military or police functionary training Dutch police officers at the Dutch Police Academy in Apeldoorn: “Do you understand?  That’s how we do it in Afghanistan!”

Should it be rather the Dutch politicians who need such a training before deciding to send a police training mission to Afghanistan? An impossible proposition almost for sure, because who would determine who would be the Afghan trainers for such a mission in the Netherlands, which fraction of Afghan society would such an instructor represent? Now we are ready to reverse this question and think about who has been selected in the Netherlands to train Afghan policemen. Or, can policing be made in something blank and objective non dependant on local standards and social complexities? I doubt it.

Photograph from: ourmediaindymedia.blogspot.com

Surprisingly the military  mission which is presented to the Dutch public by the government as only a civil-police training mission, has been supported by two opposition parties, D66 (Democrats 1966, a mid course party ) and Groen Links (Green Left, a mishmash of christian, ecologists and former party communists). Dutch peace activists protested in February this year by protecting with their own invented ‘Kurduz Police Force’ the Green Left Congress from Taliban intruders.

A photo documentation can be found here and there is also some apparently uncut video documentation at YouTube. A more formal description of the Dutch police mission to Kurduz in Afghanistan is at the Wereldomroep web site, the world wide broadcasting service of the Netherlands that because of its critical tone is now on the government lists of non-supportive media whose budget will be scrapped.

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晚安 香港 = Maan On Hong Kong / Good night Hong Kong (maan6 on1; in Cantonese tones, middle rising and high) with an authentic boxman sleeping in the arcade of the Hong Kong Cultural Center in Kowloon and a view from the Peak on Hong Kong Island over Victoria Harbour at Kowloon… taken just before midnight on Tuen Ng festival day in the city with the biggest poor rich divides in Asia.

Hong Kong's rich-poor divide still the world's worst as gulf widens

Hong Kong – Hong Kong’s rich-poor divide has widened, cementing the city’s global top spot for wealth disparity, a news report said Wednesday.

Official statistics published by the South China Morning Post show the city’s top earning families now have an income 25.7 times more than the lowest earning families.

The average monthly income of the top earning 10 per cent of the population was 77,000 Hong Kong dollars (9,900 US dollars) in 2010, up 7,000 Hong Kong dollars or 10 per cent from 2006.

However, the poorest 10 per cent saw their monthly income drop more than 3 per cent to 3,000 Hong Kong dollars, a fall of 100 Hong Kong dollars, according to figures from the Census and Statistics Department.

The middle income group fared slightly better than the poor but not as well as the rich, with their monthly income increasing by 3.3 per cent to 15,500 Hong Kong dollars a month.

Hong Kong’s Gini coefficient now stands at 0.533 compared to 0.518 in 1996, meaning the city still holds the title of having the world’s starkest wealth disparity.

The Gini coefficient measures disparity on a scale of 0 to 1, with zero showing perfect wealth distribution, and 1 maximal inequality.

The United States had a Gini coefficient rating of 0.468 in 2009.

Hong Kong has some of the world’s richest people, with three of its resident billionaires appearing in the top 30 of the Forbes rich list for 2011.

A Run Run Shaw movie of the eighties of last century re-broadcasted a few days ago on the Hong Kong channel of Celestial Movies: "The lights of the city" of a totally poor Mainland China illegal migrant family and their ordeal in surviving in Hong Kong. Misery as burlesque entertainment. Here another 'Good Night Hong Kong' scene of the family going to sleep in two cupboards they found it the street; the kids were promised that one day they would go to "the Peak" and see all the marvellous lights of the city...

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Uruzgan was de “Vijfde Politionele Actie” van Nederland in Azië. ‘Politionele Actie’ een Hollands eufemisme om het werkelijke imperiale streven van de inzet van Nederlandse troepen te verhullen: Pogingen eerst om het koloniale rijk in Den Oost te behouden: de Indonesische eilanden en Nieuw Guinea. “Politionele acties” 1 en 2 van 1947 tot 1949 op Java en Sumatra met inzet van vrijwilligers later ook dienstplichtigen; nummer 3 was de koude anti-comunistische Korea Oorlog 1950-1953 met uitzending van soldatenvrijwilligers; nummer 4 Nieuw Guinea 1959-1961 waarbij dienstplichtigen gedwongen werden deel te nemen in een krampachtige poging dit strategisch gelegen mineraalrijke eilandsdeel voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden te behouden. Laatste in dit rijtje is het eveneens grondstofrijke Afghanistan met inzet van beroepssoldaten, de VIJFDE NEDERLANDSE POLITIONELE ACTIE IN AZIë, die in NAVO-jargon ‘Task Force Uruzgan‘ genoemd wordt.

Traditiegetrouw wordt iedere beëindiging van zulk een typische Hollandse ‘politionele actie’ met stille trom gevierd en rest enkel nog de nazorg van de familieleden van de omgekomen Nederlandse militairen en de getraumatiseerde soldaten die het overleefd hebben. Zij kunnen – hier ten lande-  op meer begrip rekenen, dan de even getraumatiseerde achterblijvende Afghanen. Jammer genoeg moeten de laatsten bij hun eventuele reisplannen, om-er-even-uit-te-zijn, rekening houden met deze, op de website van de Partij Voor de Vrijheid te vinden, reisbeperking: “Invoering quotum asielzoekers van maximaal 5.000 per jaar, opvang in eigen regio.”

Deze recente cartoon is - heel verrassend - op de officiële Nederlandse geschiedenis canon web site te vinden die anders weinig uitblinkt in het kritisch weergeven van het Hollands koloniaal verleden. In mijn hoofd zie ik vrijwel dezelfde prent met twee Hollandse dienders tegen een bergachtige achtergrond, één van de mannen op het bankje heeft een Afghaanse muts en de rechtse bromsnor zegt: "... zitten we een beetje de Taliban te spelen soms?." Klik cartoon om het canon-venster te zien....

Het wachten is nu op de lange en vertraagde  nasleep met details en cijfers over het totale aantal doden en andere slachtoffers van deze “vredesmissie” – ongeacht of zij nu het stempel Taliban of niet opgedrukt gekregen hebben. Nu de ingebedde journalisten met ander werk uitgescheept gaan worden, zal met het verloop van de tijd het nog verzwegene alsnog gaan spreken. Weer “een venster in de nationale geschiedenis canon” erbij waarvan het gordijn nog opgeschoven moet worden.

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